Charlie showed early promise as a potty-training prodigy. At maybe 18 months, he used the potty twice in one weekend, of his own volition, with precise aim and everything. I was so excited that I think it freaked him out, and he refused to pee pee in the potty for months to come.
At Charlie’s parent-teacher conference (a thing they do for 2-year-olds! Who knew?) his teacher stated that he didn’t seem that interested in potty training. She recommended bribery. With candy.
Somehow, we’ve so far managed to convince Charlie that candy isn’t something that exists in the world. For a while, this could be said of sugar generally, but the kid wants to eat Nutri-Grain bars for breakfast. Who am I to stand in the way of his dreams? More importantly, once he knew a sweet morning meal was a possibility that life afforded him, I couldn’t unring that bell.
I got Charlie a snowman Pez dispenser for Christmas, because I’m not a monster. At first, it was one Pez for a solid pee-pee attempt, but Miss Ann said that won’t do it. No participation awards in potty training. Pez is for closers. Now we’re at two Pezzes per pee-based victory.
When the snowman dispenser ran out of Pez, we obviously needed to purchase a set of four presidential Pez dispensers (for the candy).
Now, when Charlie needs to pee, he’ll usually just pee in his diaper so he can keep playing with his trains uninterrupted. But he sometimes asks if we can go find President Carter and have some Pez. I’ll tell him that yes, he can have Pez the next time he goes pee-pee in the potty. A moment of reflection. Then:
He’ll pee-pee in the potty, fight me about how many thousands of times he can flush the toilet, stand on his stool to wash his hands at the sink, start to freak out that he just wants bigger soap, refuse to dry his hands, have feelings about putting his diaper and/or pants back on, receive two Pez candies, and conclude the transaction with an appreciative “Thank you, President Carter.”
While he may not be the potty-training prodigy I’d initially hoped for, he can tell the difference between a Jimmy Carter Pez dispenser and a Gerald Ford Pez dispenser, so I’m calling this a win.